1. Ninety-three polymodal nociceptor units with unmyelinated axons were isolated from rabbit sural nerves. Twenty-three were used for control data. These showed normal sensitization on repeated heating of their receptive fields, measured here as a drop in mean heat threshold. 2. Small injuries were made 5 (n = 15) or 10 (n = 12) mm outside the receptive fields of some polymodal nociceptors. This resulted in the development of spontaneous firing and lowered thresholds to heating of the receptive field. 3. Local anaesthetic previously injected into the site of injury blocked this spread of heat sensitization. Previous injection of saline had no effect. 4. Antidromic stimulation of the sural nerve, proximal to the recording site, also resulted in heat sensitization of polymodal nociceptors (n = 10). 5. Possible mechanisms for the spread of sensitization of polymodal nociceptors from nearby injury are discussed. Analogies are drawn between these results and those of Lewis (1935--36) on the spread of cutaneous ;yperalgesia around a skin injury in man.